Sunday, May 8, 2016

The full monty

You all know about the work I've been doing on racing as who I am (today) instead of who I was.

Yesterday, I went back to look at my last 70.3 to look at what my paces were. I plan on posting those here as the race gets closer. This way on race day, anyone who is tracking me can have an idea of where I am during the race. I'm not focusing on time goals, but as someone who tracks's kind of nice to have an idea of what the day is like on the course. Weather and course conditions affects an athlete's overall times, but they will affect everyone's time.

But back to yesterday. Liz told me that my 3 hour ride + 30 min off the bike run was to put my entire race plan together. Try out all the gear, fueling, use race day cadence, sodium.

Lately, I've had emotional highs and lows. There are days where I feel great and days where I feel completely overwhelmed. This is because I have changed everything for this training cycle. There are a lot of unknowns for me.

I met with Dina (of course). I had my fueling strategy. I've had (repeat) sweat tests, and I've gone through sodium testing. Those things are set. She gave me great advice a few weeks ago for long runs.

After the conversation, I realized that I know what I need to do, but exactly how does it all work? HOW do I carry salt tablets and easily take them on the bike? (I know there are proud card carrying members of Team Base Salts, out there. Unfortunately, I cannot use base salt. It took me a year of using it to realize that some of my issues were directly related to Base. That's why testing is so so important.)  How do I carry my UCAN on the bike? Do I carry water with me on the run? Do I take water from aid stations?

I went back to Liz about running with water and without. I came up with a plan that I was going to use for my 3:30 workout.

It wasn't until the night before, that I came up with a plan for my fueling.

Here are some details about my fueling:

I need 28oz of water per hour and 600 mg of sodium (per hour).

2 scoops of vanilla UCAN 30 min before my workout.

1 scoop of Cocoa delite every 1:15. (I love the cinnamon, but I have found that some days it's upsets my stomach and some it doesn't. The cocoa gives me a higher success rate).

For 3.5 workout, that's 98oz of my UCAN. I can carry 4 water bottles on my bike. I need 3.5 bottles of water, but then I don't have any left for my fuel. How on earth am I going to make this work?

Then, I remember what Dina told me about long runs with ucan. Concentrate the UCAN and use these to carry it. That definitely works for running, but would it work for the bike? Do I have a tri kit with deep enough pockets where I don't have to worry about it falling out? (Cycling jerseys are completely different).

I check out the two tri kits that I was planning on wearing for race day. I fill a flask with water and put it in the tri kit pockets. YES! They fit snuggly.

That means, my water bottles are freed up for water. This also means that I will not have to slow down to refill at aid stations during the race. As the race goes on, my bike will get lighter and lighter.

The next issue I had to address was carrying salt stick tablets. I went through a variety of ideas. (I have a built in bento box on the bike, but for many reasons, bento boxes are less than optimal. They are great for carrying a variety of things....not so good for salt tablets).

For some reason, mini m&m's popped into my head. YES. A mini m&m container! I can carry an entire race worth of salt tablets. With that decided, I bought mini m&m's.....sadly.....a mystery man ate the m&m's. I didn't get to enjoy them myself.

Mini m&m container in the back pocket of my jersey.

NEXT! If you've done a 70.3 before, you know that regardless of weather, by the time you start fueling on the bike, your fuel is warm.  Because this is my first year racing with UCAN, I decided to mix it with warm up water, to make sure that the taste would still be palatable to me when it's not ice cold. My plan for race day is to freeze one flask over night. However, I have found that even freezing fuel, doesn't help. It always warms up.

Ok: Water issue resolved. Sodium issue resolved. Fuel resolved.  There's only one thing left: how to handle the run.

Carrying water is great, but coming off the bike when my legs will already be tired.....I want to avoid that.

Liz recommended walking the aid station. I started doing the math for various walking times, calculating my pace, how it would affect pace, etc.

I decided to test a :15 second walk every mile (or during my test run yesterday, every 10 minutes).

The general idea of my run was: 6 min easy/4 min at goal pace. So, walking fast and drinking water every 10 minutes seemed logical. BUT, is :15 enough time?

The workouts:
I woke up and had my breakfast and got ready to train. The bike workout was a success. I realized that some things were easier than others in aero position, but that for the most plan was solid. (Keep in mind, I don't use fuel at all for sprints. Olys are right on the cusp of needing fuel). I tried the m&m container in the bento box (FAIL), but it worked in my back pocket. I miscalculated my water intake the 2nd hour and ended up peeing TWICE. (To put this in perspective, an athlete should pee every 2-2:30 hours. That means you're hydrated. If you pee more, you drank too much water and not enough salt. If you pee less often, you are dehydrated.) Other than that, the day went well.

The run went great! I had my fuel belt on and every 10 minutes, I walked fast and drank my water. Then, immediately started running again. I felt great the entire run. Now, I know that I might not be able to take down my fuel in :15, but I will only have to do that once. During a 10 mile run a few weeks back, I was able to take the fuel while running. If I need more fuel, I will have Skratch chews.

The feedback from Liz:
I nailed the run, and my heart rate was very low for the pace. WIN. The run/walk went well, and I obviously fueled correctly to have such a strong run.

For the bike workouts, I was in the ranges I was supposed to be in. Once again, I was in the low end of the ranges.  Liz told me, "Work the full range. You can do this, Tea. You CAN." The workout was a build workout. This is why 1.) I need a Coach and 2.) I need data equipment. I know there are people who will go too hard, too often. I'm not that person. I will always take the easy way out (if I don't get feedback).

After the workouts, I started eating and recovering. I have a 1:50 run on Sunday. It's going to be painful, no matter what, but if I can make it even a little less painful by eating right.....I will.